Bracero Oral History
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Feliciano Zarupe was born in Michoacán, México. Feliciano’s father was a businessman who made hats for selling and/or swapping for other items or food. His mother worked as a housekeeper and she also cooked. Feliciano has two brothers and two sisters. One of Feliciano’s brothers worked in the Bracero Program from 1943 until 1947.
Summary of Interview
Feliciano never went to school and from a very young age he began working, collecting resin from pine trees so it could be processed for various needs. Feliciano entered the Bracero Program in 1960 and the first part of the recruitment process, the physical examination, took place in Empalme. Then they were sent to Calexico where they were dusted against lice. Feliciano first went to Oxnard in Parque del Sol when he arrived in the United States and then was sent to Lompoc in Santa Maria county, California where he worked harvested lettuce for 45 days. A typical day began at 5 a.m. with a breakfast that consisted of oats, milk, bread, and eggs. Lunch was at noon and the meal varied but consisted of beef, roast beef and sometimes liver. There were eighty beds to one barrack. Feliciano was paid $1 per hour and had $0.10 cents deducted. Every pay check Feliciano sent money to his wife in México. After Lompoc, Feliciano went to Salinas, California to work harvesting pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, cauliflower and strawberries. Feliciano worked in Salinas for three years. Feliciano has had a difficult time collecting the 10% that was deducted from his earnings. At the time of the interview Feliciano had been living in the United States without legal documentation.
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Interview with Feliciano Zarupe by UM, 2008, "Interview no. 1424," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.